Sparkling in the ordinary

I remember when I was little, when no one was around, I'd pretend I was holding a microphone, put on music and dance and sing. I'd put long shirts on my head and pretend I had this long flowing hair and swing it around as I sang, like a beautiful songstress on a big stage.

I would think to myself that when I grow up I would not be just an ordinary person. I thought, I don't want to be manilla, I don't want to blend.

I want to be special, gifted. I want to be famous. I want to sparkle!

I'd think, I want to be really good at something, I want to stand out, I want to be a star!

Today is Elvis's 78th  birthday. It is silly for me to list why he was such a huge star. The King of Rock N' Roll, the envy of many and the desire of zillions.  Elvis, this ball of energy and talent, the desire of so many, was just 42 when he died. He was not manilla. He sparkled.

Today, officials in Memphis Tennessee are celebrating his star-studded, jump-suit wearing, hip swinging, love song crooning life. They have declared Jan. 8, Elvis Presley Day and are throwing a big party at his home in Graceland.

An extraordinary - and short- life that ended because of drugs and alcohol.

Also on this day, in the news is a story that a medical examiner released details from a second autopsy conducted on singer Amy Winehouse, confirming that she died from alcohol poisoning. She was just 27 years old. When she died her blood levels showed alcohol levels at five times the legal limit. I can't even imagine how sick she felt in those last hours. But she was not manilla. She sparkled.

The list could go on of  famous, beautiful, charismatic, talented people who had it all, they sparkled they were not manilla, but  they self-destructed.

Michael Jackson, 50, King of Pop, Whitney Houston, 49, noted by Guinness Book of World  Records in 2009 as the most awarded female singer ever. People who came from nothing and suddenly had it all. Who were not manilla, they were not ordinary, they sparkled.

But it wasn't enough. Somewhere in all the love and attention they craved, they lost themselves. They lost their own personal value. They lost cite of what God had blessed them with. Maybe they couldn't handle the pressures, the responsibilities of what they had created. Maybe they even began to resent what they had become.

I bet when they were little kids though, they sang and danced and told people they'd be famous one day.

I also set out to be extraordinary.

But reality today is that at 43, I'm just a mom and just a wife, I care for my animals and write some stories along the way that I feel really good about, but  by the world's standards I'm just ordinary, possibly, manilla even.

But I'm alive, healthy, happy. I am surrounded by people whom I love and who love me back.

I don't think a day will be named after me when I'm gone or that I'll make it into the Guinness Book or World Records.

But guess what?

I think I do sparkle a little bit.

Please comment and share with me your childhood dreams.

Until next time, love each other.

 

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    Bittersweet

    I have been a professional journalist for 20 years. I have written hundreds of news and feature stories, typed zillions of words for an array of major newspapers – Life Newspapers, Waukesha Freeman, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Indianapolis Star, and for the last ten years the Chicago Tribune and Triblocal. I grew up in Cicero, am a product of the public school system and a graduate Columbia College Chicago. I love this town!

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